Hong Kong stocks gain 0.64% amid volatility

2008-07-18 10:57:51 GMT       2008-07-18 18:57:51 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

HONG KONG, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong stocks managed to close in positive territory Friday as investors were cautious about the market's future direction over the weekend.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index advanced 276.22 points, or 1.27 percent, to open at the day's highest 22,010.94, encouraged by Wall Street's sharp rises overnight.

Market momentum subsided shortly after the opening as blue-chip stocks sell-off orders reversed the trend and sank the index by as much as 57.57 points, or 0.26 percent, to the day's lowest 21,677.15 in the afternoon session.

The index managed to climbed from the day's bottom during the last 30 minutes trading to close at 21,874.19, up 139.47 point, or0.64 percent.

Turnover dropped to 59.57 billion HK dollars (7.64 billion U.S. dollars) from Thursday's 63.46 billion HK dollars (8.13 billion U.S. dollars).

Among the 43 components of the benchmark Hang Seng Index, gainers outnumbered decliners by 30 to 11, with two stocks unchanged.

Blue-chip heavyweight HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, rallied 2.56 percent to 120 HK dollars, lifting the index by 83.62 points alone.

Heavily traded China Mobile, China's largest mobile phone operator and the market's largest stock measured by capitalization, dipped 0.95 percent to 104.2 HK dollars amid reports that the Chinese mainland is expected to issue 3G licenses six months later.

China Unicom added 1.91 percent to 16.02 HK dollars. China Netcom rose 2.14 percent to 23.9 HK dollars. China Telecom was unchanged at 4.26 HK dollars.

Energy companies were mixed as global oil prices dropped below 130 U.S. dollars a barrel. PetroChina, the country's largest oil producer, inched up 0.6 percent to 10.04 HK dollars. Sinopec, Asia's largest refiner, added 0.13 percent to 7.49 HK dollars despite its profit warnings. China's largest offshore oil producer CNOOC lost 2.78 percent to 11.88 HK dollars.

Aviation sectors were mostly higher due to weakening oil prices. Hong Kong-based airway Cathay Pacific rose 3.13 percent to15.14 HK dollars. Air China advanced 2.63 percent to 4.29 HK dollars. China Eastern Air added 0.87 percent to 2.33 HK dollars. China South Air lost 1.85 percent to 3.18 HK dollars.

Most Hong Kong's property companies were higher. Sun Hung Kai Properties, the largest house developer in Hong Kong, picked up 1.73 percent to 111.8 HK dollars. Cheung Kong, one of the biggest housing companies controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, added 0.76 percent to 105.7 HK dollars. Henderson Land rose 0.33 percent to 45.35 HK dollars. Sino Land rose 1.38 percent to 14.66 HK dollars. Hang Lung surged 4.13 percent to 25.2 HK dollars. New World Development was unchanged at 14.18 HK dollars.

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the sole market operator, went up 2.32 percent to 110.5 HK dollars.

The China Enterprise Index, or H-shares, which was composed of 43 companies registered in the Chinese mainland, gained 67.32 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 12,123.88.

Chinese banks and insurers listed in Hong Kong were higher. Heavily traded ICBC, China's largest lender, gained 1.46 percent to 5.55 HK dollars. Bank of China, the country's second largest bank, went up 1.5 percent to 3.39 HK dollars. China Construction Bank, the third largest bank in China, increased 0.62 percent to 6.48 HK dollars. China Merchants Bank gained 1.91 percent to 26.7 HK dollars. Bank of Communications rallied 1.39 percent to 9.35 HK dollars. China Life, the country's largest insurance company, stood unchanged at 28.05 HK dollars. Ping An, China's second largest insurance company, rose 2.91 percent to 51.25 HK dollars. (7.8 HK dollars = 1 U.S. dollar)

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